The two most common variations of the tricep pressdowns are performing it with either a rope or with a rigid metal attachment (e.g. v-bar, straight bar). Each provides its own unique benefits. The rope variation places more constant tension on the triceps by isolating them while the standard bars allow greater overload. Each of these provides it’s own unique hypertrophy stimulus. Fortunately it’s possible to take advantage of each of the stimuli by combining both methods.
Weighted dips performed with the dorsiflexion technique are excellent for improving dip mechanics and strength. It teaches the lifter to active their whole body from head to toe not to mention that it's a very simple method for performing weighted dips.
Here's a great dip variation that teaches proper form and mechanics. The straight bar dip requires incredible core stability as well as perfect mechanics in order to successfully complete the lift. It forces the lifter to hollow the core and hinge at the hips which represents proper dip mechanics.
Dips are often improperly performed. Be sure to create a hip hinge by leaning forward at the torso and slightly driving your feet forward while keeping the toes dorsiflexed. This is a great mass and strength exercise for the chest, triceps, and shoulders.
Ben, a competitive powerlifter and bodybuilder, demonstratesproper form for weighted ring dips. Ring dips are a great exercise for crushing the chest, triceps, and shoulders, as well as various stabilizers throughout the core and upper torso region. Get a full range of motion without collapsing at the bottom.
This kettlebell variation of the skull crusher is a great tricep exercise not to mention one that also taxes the core. If you're looking to increase the size of your arms, this is one a great tricep movement to add to your training program.
This skull crusher variation is one of the most difficult yet one of the most effective tricep mass builders there is. Holding the non-moving arm in the eccentric isometric position does wonders for size, strength, and muscle function. It's also a great core strengthening exercise when performed with the isometric leg raise hold as shown here.
Many bodybuilders believe that the decline skull crusher allows the greatest range of motion, thereby providing high levels of stretch that are critical for hypertrophy mechanism. Add in kettlebells and you also get more constant tension to all three heads of the triceps, making it highly effective for eliciting growth throughout the entire musculature.
Using 120% of your max load during a skull crusher is impossible, right? Dr. Seedman begs to differ. By using the incline KB skull crusher, you get a “compound-isolation” exercise that allows you to use supramaximal loads (greater than your 1RM) on the eccentric without the fear of being able to complete the concentric movement. The results? Hypertrophy and strength gains throughout the triceps.
While the traditional overhead extension isolates the tricep's long head, the kettlebell variation targets of all three-long, lateral, and medial. How? Kettlebells create more tension because the load is hanging beneath the hands creating a constant pulling force. Kneeling creates instability, forcing you to control tempo and mechanics, which create incredible strain on the triceps.
The Reverse Grip Chain Bench Press is a great chest press variation that also taxes the triceps heavily due to the accommodating resistance towards the top of the movement. Combined with a reverse grip the triceps receive intense stimulation.
Performing kickbacks with kettlebells, rather than dummbells, increases intensity and strain on the triceps because of the unique leverage and loading mechanism. Don't extend too high or the rear delts and lats will take over.
Kickbacks are criticized for creating little tension outside the contracted position; however, when used effectively (i.e. at end of a workout) they can create incredible tension and metabolic stress resulting in muscle pumps and hypertrophy. Single-leg kickbacks also force you to be smooth in order to maintain balance.
The decline kettlebell pullover is an incredible lat, upper back, tricep, and core builder as the decline creates an even greater range of motion and stretch than the flat angle. When performed with kettlebells the effect is even greater. Here's one my bodybuilders Ben showing how it's done.
This ring exercise is much more difficult than it looks. Besides being incredibly challenging the ring pullover is highly effective at targeting the lats, triceps, and core, not to mention all the stabilizers throughout the rest of your body (from head to toe).
Skull crushers or tricep extensions on rings are an excellent tricep and arm exercise that also tax the core and shoulder stabilizers. Here's Leslie one of my national level figure competitors showing how it's done.
Here I'm performing bottoms-up skull crushers with light 20 pound kettlebells in each hand. The two most common issues on tricep skull crushers are allowing the elbows to flare (typically due to faulty shoulder mechanics), and collapsing in the stretched position. The bottoms-up skull crusher with kettlebells directly targets both of these issues. The instability produced from the bottoms-up position, forces the shoulders to retract and depress throughout which has an immediate impact on reinforcing the all-important elbow tuck. By flaring the elbows, not only will this decrease innervation to the triceps but you’ll actually be unable to control the kettlebells as the force vectors from your body will be mismatched with those from the unstable load.